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Theatre Odyssey’s Grecologues

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Theatre Odyssey’s Grecologues

Welcome to Theatre Odyssey! Theatre Odyssey is the UK’s Community Classical Arts Organisation. Run entirely by volunteers, it aims to promote the worlds of Greece and Rome through all the arts. The organization was founded in 2000 with a three act production of Homer’s Odyssey. Since then the organization has produced productions of Greek plays, adaptations of Greek myth, storytelling sessions in schools and public places, art exhibitions, musical events and various other creative endeavours throughout Scotland and in the South East of England. Visit www.theatreodyssey.com for more information, or to find out how to get involved in Theatre Odyssey projects and events. 2


Theatre Odyssey’s Grecologues

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Theatre Odyssey’s Grecologues

The Grecologues This project first started in Bradfield, Berkshire, when, in 2006, a group of writers began to create monologues based loosely on Greek myths. The idea has developed over the past three years, developing more Grecologues and exploring the ways in which the themes, motifs and ideas in Greek mythology might be transformed into a contemporary piece of writing. By exploring these myths through the medium of a monologue (or, in the case of Oedipus, a duologue!), one can gain an insight into the essence of the characters and what makes them tick. The rehearsed readings of these new pieces of writing have been rehearsed over two Saturdays in The Barron Theatre, culminating in this evening’s scratch performance. We invite audience comments, either after the show or by email to grecologues@theatreodyssey.com. We are delighted to have, as part of this rehearsed reading, segments recorded by a former Theatrical Odyssean, Malia Andrus, now in Chicago. The Writers

John J. Taylor is a teacher, director, writer and storyteller who lives in the East Neuk of Fife. He founded Theatre Odyssey in 2000, and this summer reproduced his One-Man Odyssey on the beaches of St Andrews and Fife. He is a member of the StAnza Poetry Festival Committee. Megan Stodel is a student at Bristol University, where she studies English Literature. She is a keen actress, playing the part of Medea in the 2006 production the Bradfield Greek Play. She is also the representative for the Bristol University LGBT Society.

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Theatre Odyssey’s Grecologues

PROGRAMME:

Antigone Segments (throughout the readings)

Malia Andrus

ACT 1: Orpheus 1

performed by Brian Sonia-Wallace

Oedipus

performed by John J. Taylor & Liesel Aretz

Tiresias 1

performed by Harry Gooch

ACT 2 Orpheus 2

performed by Brian Sonia-Wallace

Circe

performed by Alanya Noquet

Daedalus

performed by John J. Taylor 5


Theatre Odyssey’s Grecologues

Tiresias 2

performed by Harry Gooch

The Original Stories All of the Grecologues are based on stories originating in Greek mythology. Orpheus Orpheus was a King of Thrace renowned for his magical abilities with music. Falling in love with a wood-nymph named Eurydice, the couple were married. Shortly afterwards, though, while being chased through the woods by a sexually predatory satyr, Eurydice was bitten on the ankle by a venomous snake and sadly made her was to the land of Hades. Unable to deal with the death of his wife, Orpheus charmed his way into the Underworld by means of music to reclaim his wife from the grips of Hades, god of Death. Convincing Persephone, Queen of the Underworld, to release his wife, he made an agreement that on the way out of the Underworld, he would not look back. He did, meaning Eurydice was lost forever. Back on earth, Orpheus entered a state of depression, and did not worship Dionysus, who sent his Maenad followers to rip his body limb from limb. The tale goes that Orpheus’ head still sings as it flows, severed, down the river Hebrus. Oedipus The famous King of Thebes from Sophocles’ plays Oedipus Tyrranos and Oedipus in Colonus is best known for having accidentally killed his father and married his mother. He goes through a period of self-discovery throughout the first play, in which he discovers, by means of various conversations with shepherds that his family had adopted him as child, that he was abandoned following an Oracle that he would kill has father and sleep with his mother, and that he has become King of Thebes not through skill (in answering the infamous riddle of the sphinx) but by Fate alone. In the end, his wife-mother commits suicide, leaving Oedipus alone and miserable. Literally seeing the truth of his situation he takes the bold, selfmutilating step of blinding himself, using the pins from his dead mother-wife’s dress. Oedipus was immortalized by Freud in his psychoanalytical theory of the ‘Oedipus Complex’. 6


Theatre Odyssey’s Grecologues

Antigone Following on from the story of Oedipus, Antigone, one of the daughters of Oedipus, finds herself in a dreadful situation. Affected by the sins of her father, the new King Creon decides that her brothers, who have killed one another in hand-to-hand battle, should be buried separately, with the brother fighting on the side of the State being given preferential treatment. Antigone objects to this, and believing more in the laws of the gods than the laws of the King, gives her unburied brother a basic burial. Accused of treason, Antigone finds herself sentenced to death by being buried in a tomb and allowed to starve to death. Meantime, King Creon is visited by Tiresias and the people of Thebes, who convince him to release the young woman, who happens to be engaged to Creon’s son Haemon. However, he arrives too late, to find not only Antigone and Haemon dead, but also, bereaved at the loss of her son, Creon’s wife has committed suicide too. Like Oedipus, Creon is left alone with his guilt for eternity. Tiresias There are various versions of the tale of Tiresias, who appears in many Greek Plays to tell protagonists of their fate. The archetypal blind prophet of Greek literature, Tiresias started his life as male. In one version of the story, Tiresias sees two snakes copulating. The snakes belong to Zeus, who objects to this, rendering Tiresias a woman by means of punishment. In another version of the tale, Tiresias sees Zeus’ beloved daughter Athene bathing, and is rendered blind by means of punishment for what he has seen. Like the story of Oedipus, the theme of sight is an important one. In another version of the tale, Tiresias is asked by Hera and Zeus whether men or women make the best lovers, as he has had the ability to experience both. Neither male nor female, Tiresias is a character who has appeal to any human on earth. It is also said that Tiresias finally died by drinking from the waters of the Helicon, taking him to the Underworld, where he famously met Odysseus in Book 11 of Homer’s Odyssey.

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Theatre Odyssey’s Grecologues

Circe The story of Circe comes mainly from Homer’s Odyssey, though there are other sources. Circe, a goddess-witch (or, ‘pharmakon’ / pharmacist!) who turns men into various livestock in order to keep them with her and alleviate her loneliness, meets the sailors travelling with Odysseus on their way home from the Trojan War. She promptly turns them all into pigs, except one man who rushes back to the ship and informs their leader of this strange metamorphosis. Odysseus, ever the arrogant hero, rushes straight to Circe’s palace, but is accosted en route by the messenger god Hermes, who gives Odysseus a drug to eat which acts as an antidote to Circe’s transforming potions. Odysseus offers a deal to Circe when she realises her powers do not work on Odysseus, that they will stay with her if she agrees to release his men from the shape of pigs. Enamoured with Odysseus, she agrees, and the men stay with her for an entire year, indulging in wine, food and lots of sex. Eventually, Odysseus begs Circe to let them all go, as he must return to his wife Penelope in Ithaka. She reluctantly agrees, being left alone with her remaining animals. Daedalus The story of Daedalus is one often found in children’s storybooks, but it is a dark tale indeed. Daedalus, an inventor from Athens, accidentally kills his nephew Talus, and is forced to flee the city. He travels on to Crete, where he makes the acquaintance of the wicked King Minos, whose wife has fathered the monstrous Minotaur. He asks Daedalus to create a cage for the monster, and Daedalus creates the world’s first labyrinth. Minos, though, is not to be trusted, and locks Daedalus in the labyrinth, unaware that Daedalus, having been the architect of this structure, knows a secret way out! Daedalus and his son Icarus escape, and, by making wings in the woods out of tree branches and feathers from a bird they have killed, stuck on with beeswax, fly off the island to escape Minos’ clutches. Daedalus, having warned his son not to fly too high for fear of the beeswax melting, loses his over-excitable son, who flies too high and plummets to his death in the sea.

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Theatre Odyssey’s Grecologues

Theatre Odyssey’s Past Productions Ancient & Modern (2000), West Port Bar, St Andrews The Odyssey (2000), Crawford Arts Centre, St Andrews Antigone (2001), Crawford Arts Centre, St Andrews The One-Man Odyssey (2001), Crawford Arts Centre, St Andrews & Pittenweem Arts Festiival Myrrha (2001), Crawford Arts Centre, St Andrews Eros & Ares (2001), Crawford Arts Centre, St Andrews Lysistrata (2002), Byre Theatre, St Andrews Myrrha (2003), Crawford Arts Centre, St Andrews Jason: The Quest for the Golden Fleece (2003), The Ramshorn Theatre, Ingram St, Glasgow Mythodyssey (2004 to Present), Various Public Venues Mythodyssey tours (2004-5) Medea: The Bradfield Greek Play (2006), The Greek Theatre, Bradfield College Homerathon (2006) Medea (St Andrews) (2006), Crawford Arts Centre, St Andrews Agamemnon (2007), Students' Union, St Andrews Aristophanes' Frogs (April 2009), Barron Theatre, St Andrews The One-Man Odyssey (July and August 2009), St Andrews Inside Out Street Theatre Festival and the Pittenweem Arts Festival

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Grecologues Programme - Theatre Odyssey